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SpaceX’s Crew-4 Freedom Dragon capsule made its way to ISS

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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Today, SpaceX has conducted a historic launch, where four astronauts, Crew-4, made their way inside the SpaceX Freedom Dragon capsule.

The fourth crewed mission of SpaceX, named “Freedom,” was launched atop a Falcon-9 rocket, carrying some potentially fascinating experiments for on-orbit testing.

The Freedom Dragon capsule was piloted by Bob Hines, along with three other astronauts, namely, Kjell Lindgren, Jessica Watkins, and ESAnaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

The launch was supposed to happen last Saturday, but there was an unanticipated clash with the AX-1 mission, which had to delay its takeoff and splashdown. Crew-4, on the other hand, is back on track and will launch from Kennedy Space Center’s launch pad 39-A.

The Freedom Dragon capsule launch is part of a LambdaVision artificial retina experiment to see if laying cells down in microgravity enhances the quality and stability of these proposed implants. Protein-Based Artificial Retina Manufacturing, a study sponsored by the ISS National Lab, investigates a manufacturing process for developing artificial human retinas utilizing bacteriorhodopsin. This light-activated protein could replace the function of damaged light-sensing cells in the eye.

The mission also includes wireless, free-floating health monitors that might be part of a larger collection of smart gadgets for medical and scientific applications. Cimon, an artificial intelligence assistant that ESA is now testing aboard the space station, is one of these free-fliers. Ballistocardiography for Extraterrestrial Applications and Long-Term Missions (BEAT), a German Space Agency (DLR) project that uses sensors embedded into a garment to monitor and quantify cardiac parameters like blood pressure is part of Wireless Compose-2.

The Crew-4 will continue missions in hydroponic plant growth, a JAXA-sponsored student code project in which children manage an Astrobee, and a test of modified off-the-shelf equipment for diagnosing specific medical disorders that they think would work in space.

In addition to the regular supplies, the Dragon crew will undertake two novel experiments, as testing in microgravity is essential for many governments and private research programs. The Crew astronauts of the International Space Station have 16 hours in the capsule before they approach the ISS for docking; they left at about 3:52 a.m. EDT.


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